Imagine Figure Skater is DS game developed by Spike. It was first released March 14, 2007 in Japan under the name KuruKuru Princess: Figure de KiraKira Koori no Angel . The game was later picked up by Ubisoft and was released in North America and Europe a year later as part of their Imagine line, under the name Imagine Figure Skater. A sequel named KuruKuru Princess: Yume no White Quartet was released December 11, 2007 in Japan.
The player assumes the role of a girl in a small town whose aim is to become the greatest figure skater there is.
Imagine figure skater is a story driven sport game that borrows elements from various games like Princess Debut and Ouendan and mixes them all together while adding some original element and mechanics to create a unique feel to it.
The game plays in two distinct phases, the visual novel phase and the actual figure skating phase.
The phase where you are not skating is pretty straight forward, you travel to different locations talking to those you meet advancing you in the story, there are no actual dialogue trees however it is up you to decide who you want to talk to and who not. Here and there NPC will give you some money (in form of allowance or just some spare change for example) that you can use in the skating shop to buy accessories and new outfits, money is also acquired by winning skating competitions. When you are free to travel the town you can also access the many different minigames that you unlock through out the story that boost your statistics.
Every week your trainer will set two goal for you, most of the time these goal will make you improve your statistics and learn a new move, once you have completed these goals the game will progress to the next week.
There are 7 mini games in Imagine Figure Skating that can be played as many times as you like every in game week, however you cannot raise each of your statistics more than one unit a week. Unlocked mini games can also be played from the menu. Depending of your initial statistics the difficulty of the mini games will vary going from really easy to almost impossible. The three statistics that can be affected are stamina, artistry, and coordination. The different mini games are:
Sushi Training (stamina)
In this minigame you goal is to eat as much sushi at a automated sushi bar as you can. the sushi will come in from the right on a conveyor belt and you'll have to slide it towards your character, after a while your character will start to feel unwell and wont be able to eat any more, luckily a sip of water makes her feel al right again and able to eat more. There are also some kinds of food that your character likes and other that she dislikes( indicated on screen), when your character eats sushi she does not like she will instantly feel unwell, when your character eat a sushi that she likes he "unwell percentage" will decrease. In order to succeed in this game you will have to make you character eat as fast as she can and as soon as she feels unwell drink water so she can continue to eat. When you manage to eat the set dished to succeed you will gain experience for your stamina.
The decorating minigame can be played in the Library. In it you are shown a cake and the you have to recreate that cake in a limited time, putting the decoration on your cake exactly like the other cake. The more precise you place your decorations the more points you will be rewarded with, if you manage to reach the set number of points you will be rewarded with experience points for your artistry.
In the penguin mini game can be acceded in the ice rink. In this game you have an unlimited number of curling stones to throw at penguins that are sliding in front of you, you will have to hit a set number of penguins in a limited amount of time to succeed this mini game. The more time left when hitting the required number of penguins the more experience points you will be rewarded for your coordination.
Rhythm Lesson (coordination and artistry)
Rhythm lesson can be best described as a shorter touch based version of guitar hero. On screen are four horizontal line that are each coloured differently and on the rhythm of the song that is playing crystals will slide one those lines from left to right, once those crystals reach the right side of the screen you will have to press the button next to the end of the line on the touch screen. It is also possible to make combos by not missing a note raising your score faster. After a brief period the game will pause and will show you the character dance on the music, for every note you managed to do correctly in the previous part she will dance elegantly and for those you have failed she will fall. Once the character is done dancing the rhythm game un pauses. You repeat this process four times till the end of the song. Depending on how well you performed this mini game you will be rewarded a variable amount of experience points for your coordination and artistry. Difficulty alters depending on the initial level of your coordination and your artistry. The Rhythm Lesson mini game is accessed in the gym.
The curling mini games is perhaps one of the most complete, you curl against a CPU opponent according to the real curling rules. You throw a stone, use a brush in front of it while it is moving on the ice to speed it up or to alter it course so that it comes as close as possible to the bullseye. Like real curling the game is not only to get our stones to the bullseye but also keeping your opponent's his stones away from it either by bumping his stones away from it with yours or by barring his route. If one of your stone is too far from the bullseye it will be declared off limit and will be removed from the track. There are 3 heats, and both the players have 6 stones each to throw.
Skating is the main focus in Imagine Figure Skater:
There are 3 different types of moves in Imagine Figure Skating that all make you use a different gameplay mechanic in order to execute them. The different types of moves are:
Jumps Jumps are the first move you learn in the game, in order to perform a specific jump you will have to scribble over the pattern that appears on the screen in a set time determined by your statistics, the harder the jumps the more times you'll have to scribble over the pattern in the set time.
Spins In order to execute a spin you will have to scribble inside a small box on the touch screen to fill a meter up in a set time, the position of the box will vary according to the move you will be doing, A high move might make you scribble the screen at the high right hand corner while a low move might make you scribble in the lower left hand corner.
When competing in a competition you will have to skate 2 routines, a short one and a longer one. At the ends the points that you earned in those two runs will be added up to form you final points, the higher your final point count the more chance you have to finish first. It is entirely up to you to decide how you are going to skate from costume to jump. First of you chose the song you want to skate on and the outfit and accesories youy want to wear. Then it is time to created your routine.
You skate using a pattern, a pattern shows you which types of moves you will execute and in which order, the game will propose you two patterns to choose from with the move you have to your disposal, one easy and the other average but you can also chose to make your own pattern that you can make as easy or hard as you wish. Since figure skating is point the more varied your pattern is more points it is worth if you manage to do it successfully.
Once you have selected/made the pattern you can choose the actual moves you will be using in it. The complicator the move the more it will be worth if you manage to pull it of that is, however you will have to keep in mind that if your statistics are low you will be given little time to execute those moves.
You can choose to do a simple jump for which you only chose the number of rotations or you could do a harder combination jump you will have to select a second jump after choosing the first including the number of rotations you wish to do in the air however when doing a combination jump the second jump must the right foot like toe loops, also the input time for the second jump is slimmer than it would normally be as a single jump.
As like jumps you can do a simple one or a combination spin, here again you can only chose for a limited amount of spins to use in the second half of the combination.
Your performance will be ranked on two different aspects:
- Technique, the number and types of spins and jumps you perform.
- Artistic, how well you express yourself (the speed you input the commands?)